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Living Without Electricity

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A very interesting link from commenter microdave. It’s a document called “Living without electricity”, a detailed report on the the effects of Storm Desmond on Lancaster in 2015.


Over the first weekend in December 2015, Storm Desmond brought unprecedented flooding to North Lancashire and Cumbria, including to parts of central Lancaster. At 10.45pm on Saturday, 5 December, electricity supplies to 61,000 properties in the city were cut. Electricity was progressively restored from 4.30am on Monday but was cut again to most areas at 4pm that evening. 75 large diesel generators were brought into the city and connected to local substations which allowed restoration of supplies over the next few days. By Friday, 11 December, the situation was back to normal…

The loss of power quickly affected many other services that people take for granted. Most mobile phone coverage was lost within an hour; although most landline phone services were available, many people who had replaced their traditional handsets with cordless phones were unable to connect. The internet was lost over most of Lancaster and, even where it was available in the street, electricity was not available to supply domestic routers and Wi-Fi hubs. Electronic payment systems were unavailable and most ATM machines did not work. The local TV booster station lost power, which also affected digital radio (DAB) services…

Mobile phone systems did not hold up. On most networks, the base station (the transmitter that provides the radio signal to communicate with phones in that area) is powered from the local 230V electricity supply. Some have a battery back-up that continues to provide a service for an hour or two but few, if any, cope with the 30-hour loss or supply experienced over much of Lancaster. Inevitably, the loss of a mobile signal resulted in the inability to send or receive text messages or to use 3G and 4G internet services.



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